Michael Franks

Jul 20, 2014

Sunday Night Jazz Showcase

Program 28 (July 20 at 11pm)

Michael Franks occupied a uniquely popular niche in the world of soft jazz and pop music in the 1970’s. He was one of those crossover artists who defied easy category on the radio and found an audience mostly among college students.

Franks was born in La Jolla, California in 1944, the son of Gerald and Betty Franks. His parents weren't musicians, but they were music lovers and he was soon immersed in swing music and vocal jazz and pop. Franks' early idols included such jazz/pop legends as Nat King Cole and Peggy Lee, as well as composers and lyricists such as Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Johnny Mercer.

Franks reached his commercial peak with the album “Passionfruit” and the accompanying hit "When Sly Call (Don't Touch That Phone)." He continued to mine his fascination with Brazilian music into the 1990’s, including one album, “Abandoned Garden” dedicated to the memory of Antonio Carlos Jobim. He also recorded a duet with his longtime idol Peggy Lee, near the end of the latter's career, on "You Were Meant for Me" from the album “Dragonfly Summer.” 

Story courtesy of Allmusic